Texas Rangers vs Houston Astros
In a must win game, the Texas Rangers will do just that Wednesday as they’ll get the better of the Houston Astros.
Texas has recently relinquished one of the two Wild Card spots and now must play pretty flawlessly until the end of the season to get back into a playoff position. The club’s big problem has been offence. In nine games leading up to this series, the Rangers scored more than three runs just twice.
But there is a sign the club is turning it around. In the opener of this series against the woeful Astros, they put up 12 runs. If they can show that kind of offensive support (or close to it) a win will be a breeze with Martin Perez on the pitcher’s mound.
Perez has been a solid starter for Texas this season, posting a 9-5 record and a 3.54 ERA. When he gets run support of any kind he tends to win. He’s 6-3 in his last nine decisions. In the three loses the team scored an average of two runs a game. In the six wins the team averaged nine runs a game. In other words, if the Rangers swing it like they did in the series opener this is a certainty for Texas. (With the Astros choosing Dallas Kuechel, who has a 4.99 ERA, as its starting pitcher that’s likely.) Take the Rangers at 1.33.
Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates will also take an important victory on the road at the expense of the Chicago Cubs.
Like the Rangers, the Pirates still have a lot at stake. Pittsburgh has clinched a playoff spot, but they are playing for one of two key possibilities. The primary objective is to overtake the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Central title. This will allow them to avoid a single-game Wild Card playoff and, instead, they’ll go directly to a best-of-five NL Divisional Series.
If they don’t attain that goal, they still want to finish as the best Wild Card team in order to secure home field advantage in that contest. The upshot is that they will be playing with a lot at stake in this contest.
The Cubs on the other hand have nothing to play for as they’re destined to place last in the NL Central. Pittsburgh gives pitcher Francisco Liriano the ball. At 16-7 with a 2.88 ERA, Liriano has been an ace. But he’s been particularly dominant against the Cubs in 2013. In four starts, Liriano is 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA against Chicago.
The Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta has pitched pretty well since moving from the Baltimore Orioles to Chicago, but in his one outing versus the Pirates he was knocked around, giving up four runs in five innings of work. Opt for the Pirates at 1.53.
Back the Rangers to beat the Astros at 1.33.
Back the Pirates to beat the Cubs at 1.53.